April is under pressure at Lake Fork! With three, yes three, Toyota ShareLunkers weighing over 13 pounds brought in during the month of March, we have high hopes for more this month. There was a large movement of big bass last month but you can expect that this month will have the biggest wave of bass surge in to spawn.
The lake is in great shape and is holding at full pool. We have had a tremendous amount of rain this spring, which is great for the spawn but has also left us with some very murky water throughout the lake. Water clarity is good mid lake to south but up north and in the creeks heavily stained to off color. Water temperatures are ranging 62-67 degrees as the month begins but you could see some areas warm up even more as the month progresses.
Shallow patterns have dominated and I am targeting areas in 2-6 feet for spawning bass. Weightless soft plastic worms and jerk baits like the Berkley Havoc Jerk have been very productive “dead sticking” them in areas that the bass are spawning. The best colors are watermelon red, black/blue, and green pumpkin. It’s very important to fish slowly right now and allow the bait to settle for a period of time before you move or twitch it. Fast retrieves with soft plastics will produce few bites from territorial spawning bass. On windy days that I am unable to fish the baits weightless I am adding a split shot about 14-18 inches above the hook to pull the bait down in the wind. I have also been using a Texas rigged Berkley Powerbait 4” Chigger Craw or Power Lizard with a 5/16 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 4/0 wide gap hook. Most anglers beat the banks this time of year, which is where you want to be, but it is very important during the spawn to understand what kind of bottom you are fishing. All banks are not created equal. Look for a hard bottom, as bass prefer to fan their nest on sandy hard surfaces. You can often tell the type of bottom by observing the bank. The presence of lily pads or vegetation are signs of a firmer bottom. Mud muck and stagnant dead vegetation or decay is usually not areas you will find spawning beds. Sight fishing is also a great way to catch some monster female bass while they are spawning. Having a great pair of polarized glasses like Costa Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses are essential. I rely on them more than any other piece of fishing equipment that I have in the spring. When you spot a big bass on a nest it’s also very helpful to be able to establish position and not be moving much or running the trolling motor. That’s when I put my Power Poles to work. They will hold you in place with ease and allow you to concentrate on catching those bass instead of maneuvering the boat. I like to use natural color soft plastics or jigs for flipping and pitching at bedding bass. Others prefer bright colored bait that they can see while working it around the fish and are able to see the bait actually be inhaled by the bass.
The shad spawn is going and there are also a lot of bass that are still in pre-spawn mode and even some fish that have spawned early and are moving into post spawn patterns by the end of April. These fish can be caught on a variety of patterns, which is what makes this month so fun. I like to use a lot of big swim baits for trophy bass in April. The 3:16 Rising Son swim bait is my go to for this. I will use the 5” version some but mostly the 6.75” regular sized one for the big bites. White, Dirty Shad, Ayu, Hitch, Carp and my Caldemeyer Custom are the best colors right now. Slow rolling this bait on windy banks in spawning areas will get your arms jerked on! Another great moving bait for me is the chatter bait in white or chartreuse/white for stained water. As the month rolls along look for some fish to start on top waters. Yellow magic’s rule my arsenal this time of year. Everybody has his or her favorite color but I really do not think it matters. The bass just can’t stand the action of that bait moving through an area that they are guarding fry. If I were to choose colors for you my choice would be baby bass, bone, or Japanese shad. You can also get some great top water action on a frog around shallow vegetation and lily pads so throw it around also. Also, don’t be afraid to fish them in the middle of the day even when it’s bright and sunny. They will bite it all day when they get going on it and it’s a blast!
The deep water bite will start to produce some as we near the end of the month and start to see some of the spawners that finished up early and are moving deep. Knowing and reading your electronics is critical as the deep-water bite gets going. I depend on my big Garmin graphs to show me what’s down there. I try to target points and roadbeds at the mouth of major spawning creeks in 14-20 feet of water. Most of the fish that move deep this month will be suspended. Deep diving crank baits are your best bet. I like to use any shad color. I will rig up my Abu Garcia 7’6” Winch series cranking rod and my Revo 4 Winch reel spooled with 15 lb fluorocarbon line. This is the perfect cranking combination for deep water. The A-rig will also produce out deep as well as the Carolina rig and a Santone football head jig if the fish are on the bottom.
Catch a Trophy Bass On Lake Fork
I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork. If you are thinking of coming out and would like to book a fishing trip with me this year, feel free to contact me anytime. I still have a few dates available but you’ll want to contact me fast to ensure the best available dates. I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and help you catch the fish of your dreams! Give me a call or send me an email to contact me or book a guided fishing trip on Lake Fork.
In the Market for a New Boat?
If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the all new Ranger 521 L as its Ranger Boat’s 50th anniversary and they are celebrating with the introduction of this new boat model. If you haven’t seen it yet you can stop by Diamond Sports Marine and Fred will be glad to show you around. Test rides are also available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership and we will get you out on the water for a ride in one. I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me fishing the FLW Series and guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Berkey, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Rigid Industries, Bass Forecast, Elite Tungsten, Bass Boat Technologies, and Fabtech Motorsports. I look forward to the 2018 season and the blessings in store for the year. I pray that each of you are blessed as well!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Tight Lines and God Bless,